Bamidele Olaseni’s journey to this weekend’s NFL draft has certainly been a far-flung and unusual one.

The Utah offensive tackle, who stands 6-foot-8, weighs 339 pounds and is 26 years old, hails from London, England.

Known as “Bam,” which aptly describes what he does on the football field, Olaseni takes on defensive edge rushers and protects the quarterback. 

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He grew up playing basketball and soccer as well as participating in track and field. He started playing football when he was 17 with the U19 London Blitz in the British American Football Association.

Olaseni ended up playing in the remote town of Garden City, Kansas, at relatively unknown Garden City Community College, where he became a three-star prospect and drew considerable attention from Power Five programs, with offers from Ohio State, Tennessee and Texas, among others. 

“Garden City is pretty isolated. It is not easy to get there. You have to be determined to get yourself out there,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said when Olaseni signed in 2019. “We learned of Bam early on in the process. Jim Harding, our offensive line coach, was our lead recruiter and he developed a great relationship with Bam. I made a trip out there as well and saw him on campus. We were persistent, stayed with him, and gained his trust.”

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At Utah, Olaseni started 11 games at left tackle for a Utes team that won the program’s first Pac-12 championship last season. 

During the 2021 campaign, Olaseni faced NFL-caliber edge rushers like San Diego State’s Cameron Thomas, Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux and Ohio State’s Zach Harrison. 

Olaseni received Pac-12 All-Conference second-team honors and received an invitation to the Shrine Bowl. He’s projected as a late-round pick or to be signed as an undrafted free agent.

Utah Utes offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni (77) and Nick Ford (55) lead the team to the field before a game against UCLA.
Utah Utes offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni (77) and Nick Ford lead the team to the field before a game against UCLA at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. | Adam Fondren for the Deseret News